Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mobile Software, PDAs, Rugged Handhelds and SAP

SAP is one of the largest software company in the world, and yet, SAP cannot easily process a simple work order or field service ticket. Think about it! Millions of people use SAP and it has difficulty processing an invoice from a plumber that fixed your office toilet. Let's explore this more.

The poor plumber completes his work, pulls out his rugged handheld PDA and fills out the electronic work order. Once it is completed he has the customer sign the screen and prints an invoice on his mobile printer. The customer (SAP user) takes the invoice and gives it to the Accounts Payable department. The Accounts Payable department looks to see what purchase order the invoice is associated with and finds none. There is now an invoice dispute.

I see this challenge with companies receiving invoices from law firms and in the Oil industry (Upstream). Both industries submit many invoices to firms using SAP and these invoices are rarely associated with a PO. What's the answer? I invite your thoughts.

Even though the world of mobile applications and rugged handheld computers may permit faster invoicing for services, there still needs to be business process improve on the customer side in order for efficiencies to be realized.